As members of a society that relies on international goods and services, there are many ways we could be supporting and furthering the use of forced, child and trafficked labour without even knowing it.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ethical alternatives. As a consumer, you can help end exploitation through your consumption, choices and voice. Read all about what you can do in our fact sheet, Forced and child labour is everyone’s business (pdf).
Here are just a few of the industries where forced, child and trafficked labour is an issue to watch out for:
Chocolate’s bitter taste
More than 70% of the world’s cocoa supply comes from West Africa – where children are often forced to harvest cocoa in dangerous conditions. Their labour goes into much of the chocolate we buy in Australia.
Sign up to receive your FREE ethical chocolate guide to help ensure the chocolate you buy is made without the use of forced, child or trafficked labour.
Find out which companies produce – or are working towards producing – ethical chocolate in our ethical chocolate scorecard (pdf).
The storm in your tea cup
After water, tea is the most popular drink in the world. The industry involves about 50 million people worldwide. But conditions for tea workers are not always fair.
Read our fact sheet about Labour exploitation in the global tea industry (pdf)
Coffee’s hidden kick
Australians drink more than one billion cups of coffee each year. More than 90 percent of coffee production takes place in developing countries. It is an industry that relies on cheap labour; often farmers are not paid a decent wage for their product.
Read our fact sheet about Labour exploitation in the global coffee industry (pdf).
Palm oil – hidden destruction
Palm oil is found in food, cosmetics, confectionary and cleaning products. While the harvesting of palm oil is criticised for the environmental damage it causes, forced and child labour also taints the industry.
Read our fact sheet about Forced, child and trafficked labour in the palm oil industry (pdf).
Cottoning on to exploitation
Cotton is one of the most common crops in the world. Exploitative child labour is found at every stage of its production – from the cultivation of the cottonseed, to the harvesting of the crop, to the processing of the raw material into threads; and finally, the manufacturing of clothes we wear.
Read our fact sheet about Forced and child labour in the cotton industry (pdf).
Intense competition to provide customers with the latest electronic devices at a cheap price fuels the global electronics industry. When we benefit from the latest technology, we often don’t think about how it is made. This includes the forced and child labour often used to mine the minerals needed to make electronic components – and the exploited labourers that manufacture the products themselves.
Read our fact sheet about Forced and child labour in the technology industry (pdf).
Australia imports over 200,000 tonnes of seafood each year. A lot of seafood comes from Asia, where men are often trafficked onto fishing boats and many women and children are forced to endure exploitation in fish processing factories.
Read our fact sheet about Trafficking and labour exploitation in the global fishing industry (pdf).
Behind the bling
Throughout the world, there are widespread reports of forced and child labour being used in the mining of jewellery’s raw materials. Further down the supply chain, children are used in jewellery production, to cut and polish gem stones, as well as make jewellery.
Read our fact sheet about Forced and child labour in the jewellery industry (pdf).